Christopher James Ray Steps Into San Jose Opera's Expanded Post Of Resident Conductor
San José Opera is counting on a new triumvirate to lead the company into its future and Christopher James Ray is ready for the challenge. In July, he assumes the expanded role of Resident Conductor alongside Music Director Joseph Marcheso and incoming General Director Khori Dastoor.
Ray will conduct two performances of four opera productions each season - a generous amount of podium time at a high artistic level. Ray says he is grateful to Music Director Marcheso "for believing in my work and trusting me with so much responsibility. Joe created the Resident Conductor title some years ago to facilitate the development of young conductors and is expanding it now to provide even more opportunity. I'm the fortunate beneficiary." The post gives Ray the opportunity to lead musically, delve into hands-on opera management with seasoned arts administrators, and pursue his guest conducting schedule.
Ray will assist in program planning led by Marcheso and Khori Dastoor. Dastoor has made San José Opera her artistic and administrative home for several years and will be the new General Director following Larry Hancock's successful tenure at the helm. Hancock will retire in July 2020 leaving the company in good health and good hands. Marcheso, Dastoor, and Ray enjoy vibrant careers that ensure the momentum of the company.
For the past two seasons, Ray has served on the music staff of the Bayreuth Festival where he worked on productions of Der Fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Götterdämmerung, and Parsifal. Other recent work includes productions of Wourinen's Brokeback Mountain with the Salzburger Landestheater, Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle in a concert version with Portland Symphony, and the time-honored works of Handel, Mozart, Puccini, Bizet, and Britten with several American opera companies. He is a noted interpreter of American composer Carlisle Floyd's works and was Floyd's assistant for several years. In addition to his diverse opera endeavors, Ray served as an Assistant Conductor of the Memphis (Tennessee) and Portland (Maine) Symphonies for special projects.
Ray made his San José Opera debut in the 2018-2019 season leading Pagliacci and Moby-Dick. This season he conducts Die Fledermaus, Hänsel und Gretel, Il trovatore, and Die Zauberflöte.